We are not just our body, and yet our bodies are the physical foundation of our experience of being alive, in this incredible universe of streaming energy, which can nourish us, moment to moment, day to day, week in and week out, if only we engage with curiosity, awareness, and trust. – Suzanne Scurlock-Durana
We are spiritual beings having a human experience. And we get to have that experience through our human bodies. The question is how much of our body do we experience? The answer to this reflects how much we experience life.
When we talk about spirituality, we also talk about consciousness. But often, the body is left out of the conversation. Many people get stuck in their head and disconnected from their body. This is particularly the case when we get sick, or when we go through a traumatic incident, we want to get rid of our body as if it’s the thing that causes us suffering.
What we don’t realize is we’re the one causing the suffering to the body. Our body is, in fact, “the body” of our consciousness. Being so, it serves as its messenger. It’s a tool through which our consciousness communicates to us. In other words, a sick body is a message from a sick mind. It is only imperative that we listen to what our body is telling us.
Hear ye! Hear ye! This is what Reclaiming Your Body offers us. In this book, Suzanne Scurlock-Durana shares what she learned from personal experience, combined with 30 years of practice, on how we can heed the advice from our own body and tap into its wisdom in order to heal ourselves.
Your relationships with other people throughout your lifetime — with your parents, spouses, children, friends, and teachers — will shift as time passes and situations change. As long as you are alive, however, your body is always with you.
It is so beneficial to have a strong, deep, intimate relationship with your own unique physical self.
What does BQ stand for? Body IQ. It’s the measure of awareness of our relationship with our body.
Suzanne says that if we are to reclaim our body, that is to rebuild our relationship with it, the first step is to become aware of where we’re at now.
In the book, she provides a BQ sheet with 9 sets of questions where you can tally your answers and measure your BQ. This will give you a hint of how much comfortable you are in your own skin.
Here are some of the questions to give you an idea:
- When you think about your body… Is your first impulse to feel appreciation for it? Or do you judge yourself and mostly notice things you want to change? Rate yourself from 1 to 5, with Appreciation at 1 and Judgment at 5 of the scale.
- When your body’s natural needs and urges arise for sleep, food, fluids, sex, and elimination… Do you feel at peace with those needs? Or are you at odds or in conflict with your body? Rate yourself from 1 to 5, with Peace at 1 and Conflict at 5 of the scale.
All of us operate from a variety of body myths and either unconsciously or consciously believe them to be true. Body myths are often handed down to us through our family lineage.
However, these are myths that you probably do not want to continue living from if you have a choice. The first step in this process is awareness. With awareness, we are given the possibility of choosing anew.
Body Myth 1: The Body is Too Painful
The pain itself is not the myth. The myth is in believing that pain is all there is inside us. As Robert Holden tells us in Happiness Now, pain runs deep but joy runs deeper.
Body Myth 2: The Body is Mysterious and Dangerous
Body Myth 2 is fed by fear of the unknown. We’d like to remain in our comfort zone, and we feel that the body is the least comfortable place to be in. To dispel this myth, Suzanne asks us to expand our awareness, slow down, and assess how we perceive the world. Do we see it as a friend or an enemy?
Body Myth 3: The Body is Seductive and Leads You Astray
This body myth says that the primal sensual and sexual urges of the body is a “sin.” We believe we need to stay away from the temptation of the body. What we really need is to realize that this sexual urge is the creative life force itself. Once we remove the judgments we place around it, we’ll begin seeing it in new light and see it for what it’s truly made for – a doorway to higher consciousness.
Body Myth 4: The Body is Out of Control and Must Be Dominated
We believe that if we have control over our body, we can make it acceptable and loveable. It’s the ego that wants to be in control. What it needs, what our body needs is not control but love. Love coming from ourselves, not from others.
Body Myth 5: The Body Knows Far Less Than the Brain
This is the conflict between the logical brain and the intelligence of the body. We can analyze the former, but we don’t understand the latter. We end up in paralysis analysis. To get unstuck, we have to trust our gut more.
The Second Brain
It is our present-moment sensory experience that provides the foundational data to the prefrontal area of our brain for the wisest decision-making possible. Without a conscious sensory connection to the present, we are forced to orient to the past.
Suzanne relays in the book the latest neuroscience findings about our gut, what’s called the enteric nervous system, or the “second brain.”
Studies show that the gut makes more neurotransmitters than the brain that resides in our head. The body registers incoming events before the mind or visual system can see what’s coming.
How come? Because our brain, the ego-mind, dwells in the past and never in the present moment. It is our body that gives us the present-moment sensory experience, which then provides us feedback with data.
Want to practice mindfulness? Tune in to your body.
Touch My Body
This means our first step in reclaiming our cells (and ourselves) is to return to the present moment — and we must feel safe in order to do that. “Be in the present moment” is an excellent mandate, but without a sense of physical and emotional safety, it is extremely challenging.
An internal felt sense of safety and connection clearly is a pivotal need for all of us as we reclaim our body and come home to ourselves more fully in each present moment of our lives.
Ah, makes sense. Why would someone choose to be in the present moment if it’s not safe to be there? Safety can’t be found in the external environment. It resides within.
It’s not the body, in and of itself, that provides us safety. But it can give us access to that awareness of safety – the present-moment awareness – through body awareness.
Find it difficult to develop body awareness? Touch it!
Suzanne found that the most effective approach is nurturing touch. It reminds us of who we are and where we are as humans. She says that when we’re touched in a nourishing way, we become more aware of what is actually going on in the present moment.
My first three explorations are based on the understanding that the earth’s field is our foundation and a core resource for our physical bodies. Who we are and how our cells are formed and function is all in relationship to the earth and its gravitational field. Inner awareness, mindfulness, is vital, but unless we recognize the larger field within which we exist, we run the risk of becoming isolated from the steady and nourishing resource that is available as long as we are alive.
What are the three explorations?
- Opening Awareness – focuses on how present you are. It’s important to cultivate the present-moment awareness first before we can set our intentions.
- The Core Embodiment Process – provides grounding. Connects us to the Earth’s nourishing and nurturing field, and offer this sensation to every cell of our body.
- Healing the Internal Resistance to Life – integrates the places within where we felt disconnection, and takes us back into wholeness.
Go to this link and fill-in with your details to access your free audio downloads (guided exercises) that accompany the explorations that Suzanne talks about in the book.
And then there are three main attributes that can lead to much deeper experience – curiosity, awareness, and trust.
- Engage your curiosity. Be open to new sensations and discoveries about yourself. Don’t judge whatever comes up. Just observe.
- Embrace present-moment awareness. Everything is simply information. Welcome them. Acknowledge them.
- Trust the process. Trust open doors to endless possibilities. When we trust the process, the natural flow of life occurs with a lot more grace and ease.
Pump It Up
I think of this as the deep well that feeds the rest of the heart. Like any well, when it is not primed and replenished, it runs dry and burnout starts to take hold. The front of the heart — the part shared with the world — needs connection to the deeper well of the heart in order to survive and thrive.
If we want love to flow into our lives, we’ve got to connect to its Source that is in the deep well of our hearts. We’ve got to pump it up! How? By loving ourselves.
Suzanne stresses that self-care is mandatory, not optional. We’ve got to “put our own oxygen mask on first” before we can help others. It’s SOP!
The antidote to pelvic trauma, regardless of the cause, is not to control or suppress this area, but to heal it. Only then can this natural power source be harnessed and connected to the rest of the system, which it is meant to fuel.
Who are the healing partners? The pelvis and the heart.
In terms of chakras, the energy centers of the body, they are the sacral and heart chakras. Sacral is where the most powerful creative force resides, the sexual energy. Combined with the compassion and love of the heart chakra, it becomes a potent energy for healing. Tantra is a well-known spiritual practice that applies this wisdom.
Not only are they healing partners, the pelvis and the heart are also creative partners. The inspiration that comes from the heart is brought into fruition by the creative energy of the pelvis, the engine of the body.
Suzanne observed that when the pelvis is unhealed and imbalanced, a person feels the need for pushing themselves using their will. And because willpower is short-lived, the creative process leads to exhaustion or burnout.
When this happens, she advises that the best action to take is to rest, heal, and bring the whole system into balance.
Walk It Out
This wisdom is called for when there are many sides to an issue, and layers of complexity to deal with, in any given idea, quest, or inspiration — perplexing problems to be solved, barriers to be met and dissolved. When this occurs, as is often the case in our lives, the wisdom of the legs and feet are needed.
This wisdom area is often overlooked because we are such a left-brain, heady culture. However, it is such a valuable asset to who we are as integrated, creative human beings. In fact, the best way to activate the wisdom of the legs and feet is to get them moving, as in take a walk, a run, a swim, or any other form of rhythmic, synchronized movement.
Want to boost your creativity? Take a walk.
Suzanne relays a study in 2014 (M. Oppezzo and D. L. Schwartz), which found that people who walked for eight minutes produced ideas that were rated as 61 percent more creative than those of people who simply sat during that time.
Seems how counterproductive thinking can be if we wish to come up with ideas and solutions that only come to a relaxed mind. Thinking often leads to analysis-paralysis. We need movement to get back in the flow.
I think… I need a walk!
Our bones are the sturdiest, densest part of our anatomy, our connective tissue, forming the scaffolding — the structure — that supports everything else.
When we can embody in our bones — when we can take our awareness into these innermost chambers of who we are — a quality of steadiness naturally emanates from them. Whatever emotions we are caught up in are then held gently for a natural resolution.
Our bones are what hold us together and keep us steady when our emotional body is overwhelmed and falling apart.
Suzanne says that clarity and steadiness are the two main gifts of our bones.
In traditional Chinese acupuncture, bones are considered the water element. So bones can be likened to the deepest recesses of the ocean. While it can appear turbulent on the surface, there is calmness in its depths. Chinese medicine teaches us that we have the same deep reservoir, which gives us the capacity to deal with the waves of life, its ebb and flow, with steadiness.
Write Yourself Down
When following these practices, I suggest journaling or somehow recording what shows up as you go. This tool is invaluable.
Journaling offers a window to your inner workings, showing you things you may not have even realized were there until the words hit the page.
Journaling is an opportunity for calm awareness. It is one of the many practices that help us filter out the chatter in our minds and listen to the quiet voice within.
Want to go bone-deep? Journaling can take you deeper to your soul, where healing happens.
Suzanne echoes our insights from The Story You Need to Tell, and reiterates what research has shown about journaling – that the process of identifying, acknowledging, and writing about your experiences can initiate the healing process.
In reclaiming our body, Suzanne reminds us to be kind to ourselves in the process.
“Love yourself as deeply as you can right now. It is this love — this all-encompassing deep caring — that will carry you home to yourself.”
Wrapping it up with the same parting words Suzanne often writes in the book:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SUZANNE SCURLOCK-DURANA, CMT, CST-D, is one of the world’s leading authorities on conscious awareness and its transformational impact on the healing process. For more than thirty years she has empowered people with practical tools that enable them to experience joy in each moment without burning out. These skills help improve every aspect of their lives, from their health and well-being to their relationships, their careers, their creativity, even the growth of their businesses.